Monday, 30 Nov 2020

Lonely man forced to give up honking pet geese after noise complaints

A lonely bachelor who bought two pet geese after his girlfriend broke up with him during lockdown has been told to get rid of them because they are too loud. 

Sven Kirby, 34, has been threatened with a fine of up to £5,000 because of his pets’ constant honking. 

The birds – named Beep Beep and Norbert – were bought for £40 each in June and have become Sven’s close companions. He lets them waddle freely around the house wearing nappies and often takes them for walks in the local area. 

The threesome made headlines earlier in the year when they took a trip to the local pub for a drink.

But now Sven faces the heart-breaking prospect of having to let them go after receiving an abatement notice from his local council saying the birds are making too much noise.

The notice, from Leeds City Council, warns Sven he must ‘prevent the recurrence of the nuisance’ within 28 days or face a fine of up to £5,000.

The admin assistant said: ‘I love my geese, they’re brilliant characters and great fun to keep as pets. The prospect of losing them is heart-breaking.

‘It almost feels as if social services are taking my children away. Norbert and Beep Beep do see me as their father or mother.’

Sven said two of his neighbours approached him about the noise and he tried to solve the issue by moving the birds inside at night.

Previously they had been spending their nights in a pen in the garden, which is where they reside during the day while Sven is at work.

However, according to Sven the complainants are still unhappy with the honking during the day.

He said: ‘They make a noise when they see someone pass or hear something, it’s like a defence mechanism. It is a fairly loud honk but it’s not something which happens all the time.’

Sven added: ‘What my neighbours and the council fail to realise are that these birds are my pets, they’re not livestock.

‘Just because they’re geese does not mean they don’t have the same standing in my house as a cat or a dog might in others. I’m sure that if they have to go then they will suffer separation anxiety.’

While the abatement notice does not order Sven to get rid of the animals, it does order him to stop causing a ‘noise nuisance’.

Sven said he feels ‘backed into a corner’ because there is nothing else he can do other than get rid of them if he wishes to avoid a hefty fine.

According to the notice, the issue will need to be resolved by December 8.

Sven said he has spoken to a few people who might be willing to take the geese on but that letting them go will be ‘heart-breaking’.

A Leeds City Council spokesperson said: ‘We take any issue regarding noise nuisance in our communities extremely seriously and will always investigate any complaints that are made.

‘Complaints can range from various forms of anti-social behaviour to the playing of music or loud noise of animals and birds.

‘If following an investigation the level of noise is found to be of a consistent and unacceptable level a warning letter will be sent to the householder.

‘This can include in some cases the serving of an abatement notice that requires steps to be taken by the householder in a reasonable timescale to reduce the noise.

‘If no steps are taken, further action may be taken by the council. Anyone served with an abatement notice can appeal the decision if they wish to do so.’

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